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Emerson Lake & Palmer Biography


Home > Music > E > Emerson Lake & Palmer > Biography


Birth Place: England
Years Active: 1970–1979, 1990–1999, 2010–present
Genres: Progressive Rock, Symphonic Rock


Emerson, Lake & Palmer are a progressive rock band that formed in England in 1970. The band consists of Keith Emerson on keyboards, Greg Lake on bass, vocals, and guitar, and Carl Palmer on drums and percussion. The bad are known for their unique sound, which combines tradition rock and roll with a Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer of. The band also incorporates elements of classical music and jazz music in their sound. The band came together when Emerson and Lake met in San Francisco and found their musical tastes so compatible that they both wanted to work together. There was an instant synchronicity between the two musicians so they began to search for a drummer. Upon meeting Emerson and Lake, Palmer felt an instant connection and joined the duo. The band played their first notable show at the Isle of Wight festival, which resulted in a record contract with Atlantic Records.

The trio's self-titled debut album was released in 1970, and mostly showcased what each musician was capable of doing. The band's fused sound culminated in the hit single, “Lucky Man,” which was a soulful acoustic ballad that received heavy radio play in the U.K., Europe, and America. The commercial success of “Lucky Man” turned the band into household names overnight and produced an instant following in the U.K., Europe, and the U.S. The band's second offering, “Tarkus” (1971) was a commercial success, and cemented the band's popularity with their growing fan base. The band's third offering, “Trilogy,” emerged in 1972, which the band followed up with an international tour. 1973 saw the release of “Brain Salad Surgery,” which fans and critics alike thought of as Emerson, Lake & Palmer's best work.

By the mid-1970s the band were at the height of their success and attained top billing at various festivals, with bands like Deep Purple receiving second billing. The band was a renowned live act, drawing audiences from all over due to their stage theatrics and versatile musicianship. The trio went on a three year hiatus around this time, due to exhaustion and wanting to work on side projects. When the band resurfaced in 1977 they hit the road to tour the U.S. and Canada in an effort to reconnect with their fans. However, with the changing musical climate of the time – disco music and punk rock dominating – the trio could no longer compete musically. The band's final studio album together, “Love Beach,” came in 1978, which turned out to be a commercial disaster. Emerson, Lake and Palmer disbanded later in 1979.

1985 saw Emerson and Lake form, Emerson, Lake & Powell with drummer Cozy Powell. The newly incarnated trio released their debut album, “Emerson Lake & Powell” (1985) to moderate success and warm reviews. This trio lasted only a year with old issues resurfacing between Lake and Emerson. It was seven more years before Emerson, Lake & Palmer decided to reunite in 1992. Their album, “Black Moon” was followed by a world tour in 1993. A year later the band followed up with “In the Hot Seat.” Another tour ensued in 1996 after Emerson and Palmer struggled with some health issues, but three years later saw another break-up. 2010 marked the 40th anniversary concert for the band and a North American tour.